Parasite Control

The goal of effective parasite control is optimize the health and well being of our animals.  Current research has shown that rotational/interval deworming is not the best practice and no longer represents an acceptable standard for strongyle parasite control.   High levels of resistance to many of the common deworming products (i.e., fenbendazole, pyrantel) has proven that frequent use of anthelmintics (dewormers) causes resistance in our parasite populations.  Additionally, researchers do not have any new equine deworming compounds in development at this time, which necessitates judicious use of the medications available today.

Individual horses have different susceptibilities to strongyle infections.  We are able to measure these differences by McMaster’s fecal egg counts.  At least 12 weeks after your horse was last dewormed, a fresh fecal sample (less than 24 hours old) is examined under a microscope and the number of strongyle eggs are counted.  Horses are categorized based on the amount of strongyle fecal egg shedding into three categories: low, medium, and high.  We can then formulate an evidence-based parasite control program for each horse.

Your veterinarian will take into account pasture management, season, and other stable environment factors when designing a parasite management program.  A sample program is as follows:

  • Apples has been determined to be in the low fecal egg shedding category.  She will receive Quest + in March and September.
  • Buddy, in the medium category, will receive Quest + in March and September, as well as a dose of Strongid in December.

Evidence-based medicine allows us to provide the best parasite management for your horse, and  avoid additional expense and exposure to unnecessary anthelmintics.